Europe is the king of Christmas markets and you can find them scattered all over the continent. Below are the European Christmas markets you should book for 2023!
Tallinn’s charming Christmas market spreads out from the base of an incredible Christmas tree, rumoured to be one of the first public Christmas tree displays in Europe. Quaint wooden stores sell local handicrafts, sweet treats, hats, scarves and plenty of glögg (think mulled wine).
Half century old buildings surround the market in various pastel colours whilst Christmas songs gentle drift out of speakers. A stage sees traditional Estonian dancers, performances and Christmas carols.
If you’re lucky, a sprinkling of snow will fall which adds an even more magical touch to this festive delight.
Strasbourg is beautiful at the best of times, but it is even more magical throughout the festive season. Strasbourg Christmas market dates back to 1570, making it the oldest Christmas market in France.
13 Christmas markets spread through the streets of this popular French city, all within walking distance from the city’s charming old town. The most traditional market in the city is Christkindelsmärik which is located at the foot of the cathedral and at Place Broglie, here you can find fresh pretzels, spaetzle, knack sausage and crepes!
A short train ride from Strasbourg is the fairytale town of Colmar so it is definitely worth doing both in one trip. Most visitors feel like they have stepped onto the set of Beauty and the Beast when entering this corner of Alsace, but when it is all decorated for Christmas, it feels more like walking through a living toy town.
Like Strasbourg, Colmar’s six markets are situated in the old town, radiating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Each market boasts its own theme and are separate by subtly illuminated streets and alleyways which provide the perfect setting for a Christmas escape.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague Christmas market is open all the way through January, creating a fairytale Christmas getaway even after the big day has been and gone. Just. minutes apart, the two main markets are held in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, with another located at Prague Castle.
The city is all lit up as locals and tourists flock to join the festive magic with brightly decorated wooden huts filled to the brim with local handicrafts and delicious Christmas treats.
There is a lot going on in and around the markets including school choirs and folk groups dressed in traditional Czech costume. Nativity scenes in wooden stables, depict Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and the Three Kings, whilst the animal stables in Old Town Square offer children the chance to pet sheep, goats and donkeys
Vienna Christmas market is one of the most well-known in Europe and continues to be voted as one of the best. The beautiful streets of the city set a perfect backdrop to all the Christmas activities Vienna has to offer.
A December market in Vienna was first recorded in 1296 after it was granted by Albrecht I, the markets have grown somewhat with at-least 20 advent markets in and around the city.
The Viennese Dream Christmas Market in front of the City Hall is the largest and most popular, and inside the hall itself children can enjoy cookie and candle making classes. An ice rink can be found in the Rathaus Park alongside a Ferris Wheel and a nativity scene.
A truly magical time to visit Scotland’s capital city, Christmas in Edinburgh spreads into early January and features a stunning Christmas Market in East Princes Street Gardens as well as Santa Land, fairground rides and incredible Christmas illuminations all throughout the city.
Something unique during the festive season is Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations, and extremely important time in any Scottish calendar. Activities spread across 3 days starting from 30th December with live music, spectacular fireworks and Street Party extravaganzas!
Smaller and lesser known, Riga Christmas Market is a beautiful time of year to visit this gorgeous Baltic city, opening from the end of November to 1st January. The city is both a summer and a winter destination but Christmas time just makes it that extra bit special and lively.
There are three Christmas markets in Riga and a handful of Christmas events located around the city, because of its small size, you can fit it all into a day or two. The old market on Dome Square is the largest and sits amongst beautiful medieval buildings filled with bustling bars and restaurants.
Dresden’s Striezelmarkt is considered to be the oldest Christmas market in Germany and has a daily program of cultural Christmas events. The city is decorated with twinkling lights whilst the scent of mulled wine and gingerbread lingers in the cold winter air.
Dresden has the largest number of Christmas markets in the eastern part of the country and it is one of the most traditional, showcasing much of the local industry from within the wider Dresden area. The Christmas market in Dresden starts in late November and ends on Christmas eve.